The subtle ways that discrimination works

PREGNANT WOMEN have limited mobility. That is obvious to anyone who has had a baby, but didn’t occur to the founders of Google when they designed their car park. When Sheryl Sandberg, then head of online sales, became pregnant in 2004, she made a simple request: parking spaces for expectant women as close to the building entrance as possible.

That is just one example of how many aspects of the workplace lack the female perspective. In her brilliant book “Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men”, Caroline Criado Perez shows how widespread these subtle biases can be.

It starts at the recruitment stage. Women are put off from applying for jobs that use words in their adverts such as “aggressive” or “ambitious”. When one company changed its ad to focus on qualities such as enthusiasm and innovation, and used a photo of a woman rather than a man, the proportion of female applicants rose from 5% to 40%.

Once you have a job, you must get to the office. Because they often care for children or elderly relatives, women are likelier to make multiple journeys. Those who use public transport often need radial routes whereas most systems favour commuters heading from the suburb to the centre of town. This means female journeys can be much longer than male ones, making it difficult for them to get to...



via Business Feeds

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